Daily Riches: “Slow Jesus” (Peter Scazzero)

“Jesus moved slowly, not striving or rushing. He patiently waited through his adolescent and young adult years to reveal himself as the Messiah. Even then, he did not rush to be recognized. He waited patiently for his Father’s timing during his short ministry. Why is it then that we hate ‘slow’ when God appears to delight in it?” Peter Scazzero

But when the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles was near, Jesus’ brothers said to him, ‘You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the miracles you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.’  … Jesus told them, ‘The right time for me has not yet come … I am not yet going up to this Feast, because for me the right time has not yet come.'” John 7:3-8

Moving From Head to Heart

  • “No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret.” Jesus clearly knew of his divine identity and mission from a young age, but he kept it “secret” most of his life! What kind of plan was that?
  • Dallas Willard famously remarked that the best word to characterize Jesus was “relaxed.” He ministered under a microscope and the shadow of his violent death. No-one really understood him. The power brokers of his day eventually all turned on him. It was in this context that he was “relaxed.” What does that reveal about him?
  • And yet, as his followers, we seem to “hate slow.” We don’t relax. Do you hate slow? Can you relax? What do your answers reveal about you?

LORD, grant me the grace to do one thing at a time today, without rushing or hurrying. Help me to savor the sacred in all I do, be it large or small. By the Holy Spirit within me, empower me to pause today as I move from one activity to the next. In Jesus’ name, amen. (Scazzero)

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For More:  Begin the Journey with the Daily Office by Peter Scazzero

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The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in less than 400 words. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Our Deep Need for Approval (Anthony de Mello and Brennan Manning)

“Look at your life and see how you have filled its emptiness with people. As a result they have a stranglehold on you. See how they control your behavior by their approval and disapproval. They hold the power to ease your loneliness with their company, to send your spirits soaring with their praise, to bring you down to the depths with their criticism and rejection. Take a look at yourself spending almost every waking minute of your day placating and pleasing people, whether they are living or dead. You live by their norms, conform to their standards, seek their company, desire their love, dread their ridicule, long for their applause, meekly submit to the guilt they lay upon you; you are terrified to go against the fashion in the way you dress or speak or act or even think.” Anthony de Mello

“When we freely assent to the mystery of our belovedness and accept our core identity as Abba’s child, we slowly gain autonomy from controlling relationships. We become inner-directed rather than outer-determined. The fleeting flashes of pleasure or pain caused by the affirmation or deprivation of others will never entirely disappear, but their power to induce self-betrayal will be diminished.”  Brennan Manning

“Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
   for my hope is in him.
 He alone is my rock and my salvation,
  my fortress where I will not be shaken.
 My victory and honor come from God alone.”
 Psalm 62:5-7a

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you aware of how much control over your life you’re giving away? Have you lost yourself somewhere in the process?
  • Is your core identity that of “Abba’s child?” If not, what needs to change?
  • Are you willing to be true to yourself and learn to resist the urge to “betray” yourself when you feel pressure from others?

Abba, help me to slowly gain autonomy from the controlling relationships in my life as I look for approval from you alone.

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For More: The Way to Love by Anthony deMello

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The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in less than 400 words. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Inconvenient Epiphanies (John L’Heureux and Dorothy Day)

“Christ came into my room and stood there….

I had work to do….
I didn’t ask him to sit down;
He’d have stayed all day.
… So I said to him after a while,
Well, what’s up? What do you want?
And he laughed …
Said he was just passing by
And thought he’d say hello.
Great, I said. Hello.
So he left.
And I was so mad
I couldn’t even listen to the radio. I went
And got some coffee.
The trouble with Christ is
He always comes at the wrong time!”
John L’Heureux, “The Trouble with Epiphanies”

“If everyone were holy and handsome, with ‘alter Christus’ shining in neon lighting from them, it would be easy to see Christ in everyone. If Mary had appeared in Bethlehem clothed, as St. John says, with the sun, a crown of twelve stars on her head and the moon under her feet, then people would have fought to make room for her. But that was not God’s way for her nor is it Christ’s way for Himself now when He is disguised under every type of humanity that treads the earth.” Dorothy Day

“He came into the very world he created,
but the world didn’t recognize him.
He came to his own people,
and even they rejected him.”
John 1: 10-11

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Would you say you’re a “driven” person? Do you sometimes choose to work when you know you should spend some time with Jesus?
  • Think about the reception that Joseph and Mary received looking for lodging in Bethlehem. Think about the world’s response to it’s creator, the Jew’s response to their Messiah. How often do you think you might have been oblivious to a divine “epiphany?”
  • Do you look for Jesus who is “disguised under every type of humanity that treads the earth?”

Abba, you come to me according to your plan, not my demand – and no doubt in many fabulous, unlikely disguises. Graciously open my eyes Lord. Graciously open my heart.

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For More:  Praying in the Presence of Our Lord by Dorothy Day

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The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in less than 400 words. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: The Limitations of Words (Hermann Hesse, Ernesto Cardinal & Ruth Hayley Barton)

“When a person has grown old and has done his all, it is his task peacefully to make friends with death. He does not need other people. He knows them and has seen enough of them. What he needs is peace. It is not seemly to seek out such a person, to talk to him, to torment him with your chatter. At the gateway to his home the proper thing is to pass by, as if nobody lived there.” Hermann Hesse –  the notice on the door of his house upon award of the Nobel Prize for Literature

“Whoever loves God wishes to be alone. Like newlyweds who do not want to have their intimacy interrupted by outsiders, those who have felt the love of God retire into silence and solitude.” Ernesto Cardenal

“In solitude and silence, we become quiet enough to hear a voice that is not our own.” Ruth Haley Barton

“… God cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence.” Mother Teresa

“… fools multiply words.”  Ecclesiastes. 10:14
“When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable,
But he who restrains his lips is wise.”  Proverbs 10:19
“The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint.”  Proverbs 17:27a

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you aware enough of the needs of others to know when to “pass by?” not to “torment them with your chatter”,  to “restrain your lips?”
  • Have you ever felt like a “newlywed” with God, wanting to “retire into silence and solitude” with him? If not, why not?
  • There is great value in silence. By silence we learn the limitations of speech. Are you able to refrain from words in order to let yourself hear “words that are not your own?”  for someone else to hear God’s words?

Abba, today I will hallow your name by leaving enough silent spaces to hear from you, waiting for my turn to speak, talking less and listening more, and speaking only out of love.

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For More:  Abide in Love by Ernesto Cardenal

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The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in less than 400 words. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: More than “Mere Humans” (Dallas Willard)

“Seventeen years of ministerial efforts in a wide range of denominational settings had made it clear to me that what Christians were normally told to do … was not advancing them spiritually. Of course, most Christians had been told by me as by others to attend the services of the church, give of time and money, pray, read the Bible, do good to others, and witness to their faith. And certainly they should do these things. … It was painfully clear to me [though] that, with rare and beautiful exceptions, Christians were not able to do even these few necessary things in a way that … would be an avenue to life filled and possessed of God. All pleasing and doctrinally sound schemes of Christian education, church growth, and spiritual renewal came around at last to this disappointing result.” Dallas Willard

“Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit
but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ.
I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it.
Indeed, you are still not ready. … Are you not acting like mere humans?
1 Corinthians 3:1-3

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Have you ever felt like you just couldn’t get the Christian life to work? If so, did you ever doubt the faith itself, blame yourself – or blame God? Do you hear what Willard is saying in this regard: “It’s not your fault. You could hardly have done better. No one told you what to do.” Can you dare to accept that?
  • The usual approach “will guarantee that this transformation does not come to pass”, but there is a better approach, whose application will “expel the darkness… little by little.” Can you still believe that God can make you more than a “mere human?”
  • Will you make a new start? embracing untried practices as you seek “a life … possessed of God?” Do you hear God calling you to that?

Abba, help me in my new, better, wiser start.

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For More: The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard

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The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in less than 400 words. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Solitude and the Chattering Monkeys (Henri Nouwen and Pope Francis)

“In solitude I get rid of my scaffolding; no friends to talk with, no telephone calls to make, no meetings to attend, no music to entertain, no books to distract, just me—naked, vulnerable, weak, sinful, deprived, broken—nothing. It is this nothingness that I have to face in my solitude, a nothingness so dreadful that everything in me wants to run to my friends, my work, and my distractions so that I can forget my nothingness and make myself believe that I am worth something. But that is not all. As soon as I decide to stay in my solitude, confusing ideas, disturbing images, wild fantasies, and weird associations jump about in my mind like monkeys in a banana tree. Anger and greed begin to show their ugly faces. I give long, hostile speeches to my enemies and dream lustful dreams in which I am wealthy, influential, and very attractive—or poor, ugly, and in need of immediate consolation.  … The task is to persevere in my solitude, to stay in my cell until all my seductive visitors get tired of pounding on my door and leave me alone.” Henri Nouwen

“In the history of salvation,
neither in the clamour nor in the blatant,
but the Shadows and the Silence
are the places in which God chose
to reveal himself to humankind.”
Pope Francis

“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Do you avoid solitude? If so, why?
  • Are you expecting to find God, or be found by him in crowd’s “clamour?”
  •  Are you willing to “persevere” in your solitude until the “monkeys in the banana tree” give up and leave you alone?

“The world is full of people wanting to solve [its] problems. But the world would profit much more if people would first confront their own anxieties and the things that cause them 1) to have to fill every silence with meaningless chatter, 2) to stay constantly busy, and 3) to do anything to avoid being still.” David K. Flowers

Abba, deliver me from these tactics.

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For More: The Essential Henri Nouwen

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The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in less than 400 words. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Paul’s Practice of “Secrecy” (James M. Campbell)

“For fourteen years he had kept silent about it.” James Campbell

“…  I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven [and] this man … heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. … I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations.”  2 Corinthians 12:1-7a

In a “supassingly great” manner, the apostle Paul was transported to heaven where he saw powerful “visions” and heard “inexpressible [secret] things.” In all his days of ministry, he never tried to use this to enhance his reputation, and he refuses to do so now. (:5) Even here, he refers to himself only indirectly as “a man in Christ.” This comes up now only because the Corinthian church was immaturely infatuated with the “superapostles” in their midst (:11). Paul’s experience put him in a special class. No one else had such credentials! Even so, “For fourteen years [Paul] had kept silent about it.”

Moving From Head to Heart

  • If you had experienced something like this, could you keep silent about it for fourteen years? Paul did. What does this says about him?
  • Have you noticed how quick many of us are to “share” things that make us look good? a long fast, an experiment with life in a monastery, years of keeping the Sabbath or of centering prayer, etc.? How often do we hear about such exploits in a sermon, an article, in a blog, or through social media? What do you think this says about us?
  • When you share something good that you’ve done, it changes it. What is to be gained instead, by keeping something sacred a secret?

Abba, deliver me from my need to impress or be thought well of. Let your approval suffice for me.

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For More: Paul the Mystic by James M. Campbell

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The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in less than 400 words. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Ash Wednesday Repentance (Tim Keller and Thomas Merton)

“We repent of the evil that enslaves us, the evil we have done, and the evil done on our behalf.” (Episcopal Liturgy)

“There is so much evil done on our behalf [as Americans.] … A racist criminal justice and penal system. War, drones and torture. Systemic poverty, the absence of worker protections or living wage laws, the constriction of unions. Oppression of the poor, immigrants, people of color. Globalized capitalism and sweatshop labor. The abuse and exploitation of the environment for financial gain and our financial ease. Racial injustice. Environmental injustice.” David Henson

“… it is the work of Christians in the world to minister in word and deed and to gather together to do justice. … A life poured out in doing justice for the poor, is the inevitable sign of any real, true gospel faith.” Tim Keller

“Contemplation, at its highest intensity, becomes a reservoir of spiritual vitality that pours itself out in the most telling social action.” Thomas Merton

“Seek justice, reprove the ruthless,
defend the orphan, plead for the widow.”
Isaiah 1:17

Moving From Head to Heart

  • One church tradition may emphasize the need for repentance for “the evil we have done” and another for “the evil done on our behalf.” Which is your tradition? If you listen, can you hear God speaking in both traditions? What is lost by listening to only one or the other of these traditions?
  • Does your tradition have a place for the words of the prophet Isaiah? How does your church (or church tradition) “seek justice?” How does it “reprove the ruthless?”
  • Do you agree that, as Christians, we should repent for “the evil done on our behalf?” Is that even possible? If so, what would it look like? What would be the point? Would it be unpatriotic?
  • As you practice repentance today for Ash Wednesday, can you let you heart be moved by the call to both of these kinds of repentance?

Abba, help me to live a life of constant repentance, full of purity, love and justice.

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For More: Generous Justice by Tim Keller

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The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in less than 400 words. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Awareness and Loving Listening (Anthony deMello)

“When I’m listening to you, it’s infinitely more important for me to listen to me than to listen to you. Of course, it’s important to listen to you, but it’s more important that I listen to me. Otherwise I won’t be hearing you. Or I’ll be distorting everything you say. I’ll be coming at you from my own conditioning. I’ll be reacting to you in all kinds of ways from my insecurities, from my need to manipulate you, from my desire to succeed, from irritations and feelings that I might not be aware of. So it’s frightfully important that I listen to me when I’m listening to you.” Anthony deMello

“Then [Joseph] had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. ‘Listen,’ he said, ‘I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.’ When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, ‘What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?’ His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.” Genesis 37:9-11

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • It’s our “conditioning … insecurities … need to manipulate … desire to succeed … [and] irritations and feelings” that make it so difficult for us to truly listen – to listen lovingly. Imagine how hard it must have been for Joseph’s family to hear about his dream.
  • Are you aware of the “triggers” that spoil your listening? How defended you are? controlling? impatient? unteachable? What would you add to this list?
  • This is an area where training will serve us better than merely trying. How can you train to “listen to you” while you “listen to me?” Can you practice watching your conversations from outside? Can you bring an “inner stability” (Nouwen) to conversations, so that it’s not “all about you?”

Abba, teach me to lovingly listen to others by teaching me first to know and hear myself.

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For More: Awareness by Anthony deMello

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The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in less than 400 words. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Sabbath and the Trance of Overwork (Wayne Muller and Thomas Merton)

“Sabbath is not dependent upon our readiness to stop. We do not stop when we are finished. We do not stop when we complete our phone calls, finish our project, get through this stack of messages, or get out this report that is due tomorrow. We stop because it is time to stop…. Sabbath dissolves the artificial urgency of our days, because it liberates us from the need to be finished. … In the trance of overwork, we take everything for granted. We consume things, people, and information. We do not have time to savor this life, nor to care deeply and gently for ourselves, our loved ones, or our world; rather with increasingly dizzying haste, we use them all up, and throw them away.” Wayne Muller

“Set me free from the laziness that goes about disguised as activity
when activity is not demanded of me.” Thomas Merton

And [Jesus] said to them,
 “Come away by yourselves
to a secluded place
and rest a while.”
Mark 6:31

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Is the “trance of overwork” preventing you from having “time to savor this life?” Is your urgency necessary or “artificial?”
  • Is your life characterized by a “dizzying haste?” Do you have the time to care “deeply and gently” for yourself and your loved ones?
  • Is your “time to stop” only when you’re “finished?” If so, what does that say about you?

Abba, teach me to stop and rest – to learn to care deeply and gently for myself – and then out of that place, to care deeply and gently for others and our world.

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For More: Sabbath by Wayne Muller

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The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in less than 400 words. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: The Preposterous Idea of “Worthiness” (Thomas Merton)

“Quit keeping score altogether and surrender yourself with all your sinfulness to God who sees neither the score nor the scorekeeper but only his child redeemed by Christ. … God is asking me, the unworthy, to forget my unworthiness and that of my brothers, and dare to advance in the love which has redeemed and renewed us all in God’s likeness. And to laugh, after all at the preposterous ideas of ‘worthiness’.” Thomas Merton

“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”  Isaiah 6:1-5

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • “God … sees neither the score nor the scorekeeper but only his child redeemed by Christ.” Do you think of your approval and acceptance with God as depending on your performance? It is irrelevant how we perform?
  • Are you able to “forget” the unworthiness of your brothers? If not, is that because you yourself are keeping score? Are you doing better than they are? Are you doing well enough to be “worthy” before God?
  • Think about it, what makes such an idea of worthiness so laughable and “preposterous?”

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For More: Merton’s Palace of Nowhere by James Finley

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The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in less than 400 words. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)